Reminder: Tier II chemical inventory reporting deadline approaching
For facilities storing hazardous chemicals, the deadline for Tier II inventory reporting is quickly approaching. Governed by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, known as EPCRA, Tier II Chemical Inventory reports are due March 1 for the previous reporting year. This is a fixed deadline, and extensions are not granted. Delayed rep...
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A look at key changes and implications with the EPA lead and copper rule 2024
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently proposed revisions to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) to limit lead exposure. The proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI) simplifies the 2022 Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) and include provisions for efficient implementations by water systems to...
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Understanding nutrient removal in wastewater treatment
While phosphorus and nitrogen are indispensable for the growth of aquatic flora, nutrient-rich wastewater results in eutrophication — an excessive growth of algae and plankton in bodies of water — which impairs freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems. To preserve these vital bodies of water and prevent eutrophication, wastewater treatment plants a...
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Securing safety: Vapor intrusion mitigation system design ensures healthy environments
Some scents, like chocolate chip cookies or fresh linen, evoke delight. Others, like smoke from a fire, serve as a warning, signaling that something could be wrong. But what if something was wrong – and you couldn't smell it? Those smells – or vapors – are perhaps the most harmful because you're breathing them without knowing it. Then, you don't ta...
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Mastering pedestrian bridge design: A guide to safety, aesthetics and sustainability
A pedestrian bridge should be designed with careful consideration of safety and convenience. Engineers creating pedestrian bridge designs should begin by identifying project objectives and constraints. Engineers should also consider construction and maintenance requirements, permitting, railing and fencing requirements, lightning, drainage and cost...
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Understanding the impacts of secondary contaminants in drinking water
Secondary contaminants in drinking water, also known as nuisance chemicals, do not pose potential health hazards but they may cause water to smell or taste unpleasant and appear cloudy or discolored. Drinking water with secondary contaminants can be extremely off-putting, even if it is safe and may cause people to change their consumption behaviors...
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EPA brownfield grant recipients to transform Illinois communities
Source: U.S. EPA Since its inception in 1995, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program has provided nearly $2.37 billion in grants to remediate contaminated sites and sustainably reuse them. The EPA Brownfields Program funds brownfield assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, environmental job training, technical assistan...
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Proposed EPA regulations to address PFAS in landfills
A municipal solid waste landfill (MSWLF) is a dedicated land area or excavated site that receives nonhazardous solid waste from households and industries. An MSWLF may also receive nonhazardous sludge and conditionally exempt small quantity generator waste. These landfills safely isolate waste from the environment with clay and geotextile liners to...
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CIPP sewer lining: A sustainable solution for wastewater infrastructure
Ideally, a sewer line should last 50 to 100 years, depending on the materials used to build the pipes. The gradual deterioration of sewer pipelines is caused by cracks, settling, tree root intrusion and other disturbances that develop over time. These deteriorating conditions affect the amount of inflow and infiltration entering systems, particular...
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Mastering railway design: Key insights into building sustainable railway systems
The U.S. freight rail network runs on almost 140,000 route miles. It is operated by seven Class I railroads with the highest operating revenues ($490 million or more), followed by 22 regional and 584 local/shortline railroads. The freight rail network accounts for about 40% of long-distance freight volume, highlighting the importance of robust, con...
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Ensuring clean stormwater systems means ongoing compliance with MS4 permit requirements
Ongoing compliance with MS4 permits is among the most critical aspects of maintaining clean stormwater systems within your community. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires municipalities that are MS4 permit holders to conduct ongoing monitoring and reporting. There are six minimum control measures expected under MS4 permits: P...
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Your land acquisition due diligence checklist: A must-have for municipal leaders and developers
Investigating the legal, environmental and financial conditions of a property is imperative to the success of a commercial land acquisition. If you are a developer or a municipality considering a land remediation/redevelopment project, comprehensive land acquisition due diligence is necessary to make informed decisions during property negotiations....
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PFAS timeline on EPA actions
PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluroalkyl Substances, contamination of groundwater and drinking water exposes us to chemicals that eventually bioaccumulate in our tissues. Preliminary studies indicate the potential health effects of PFAS include altered immune and thyroid function, liver and kidney diseases, adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes a...
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Unlocking urban potential: U.S. government incentives spark development in former office spaces
The COVID-19 pandemic might have ushered in a remote workplace trend, but that doesn't mean urban landscapes are poised for tumbleweed. Rather, opportunities abound for residential development as the U.S. government incentivizes transitions for high-vacancy office buildings. The White House recently announced details for its Housing Supply and Acti...
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Understanding MS4 Permits: Managing stormwater systems and municipal obligations
From salting your driveway to blowing grass clippings into the street, there are plenty of things we do to affect our stormwater system. That's why the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency takes steps to regulate and monitor shared water systems. They do that through MS4 permits, which are short for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. These...
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Radium in drinking water — health risks and treatment methods
As a radioactive element, radium is present in varying amounts in rocks and soil within the Earth's crust. While surface water is usually low in radium, groundwater can contain high levels of radium, potentially leading to radium in drinking water. Radium is typically found in drinking water in regions where it is present in the granite bedrock sur...
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Sludge disposal — challenges and solutions
Sludge is a solid byproduct produced during wastewater treatment. It contains a mixture of water, nontoxic organic compounds, toxic pollutants (heavy metals and chemicals), inorganic compounds, pathogens and other microbial pollutants. It is typically classified into two types:Primary sludge. This is a byproduct of the preliminary treatment of wast...
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The crucial role of MS4 permitting requirements
Keeping bodies of water clean is a priority for everyone, which is why the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates MS4 permits.  What are MS4 permits? Short for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, MS4 permits are required for municipalities that have water discharging into state or federal waters. Because that encompasses n...
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Understanding Municipal Water Filtration
The key objective of drinking water treatment and water filtration is to prevent water-borne illnesses and help communities access safe drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates approximately 155,000 public water systems that provide drinking water to 90% of the country's population. The agency requires utilities to c...
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Wastewater collection systems: evaluating and planning
Before sewage/wastewater is discharged or reused, it must be properly collected from homes, businesses and industries. A wastewater or sewer collection system is primarily designed to collect and move flows to a downstream treatment plant. As sewage flow moves, it encounters pressure and gravity. The construction of sewer structures such as collect...
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